PHOENIX - The Phoenix Suns have an All-Star point guard and one of the better centers in the NBA.
In the Western Conference that puts the Suns (16-20) ahead of the Kings, Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Hornets in standings.
But the Kings shouldn't treat the Suns like below-average team in spite of their record. After all it was a loss to the Suns Feb. 11 at Power Balance Pavilion that began the Kings' season-long six-game losing streak.
So here are five things to watch for tonight when the Kings look to end their two-game losing streak against the Suns.
1. Tracking the shooters
After losing players on the perimeter last month against Phoenix we will see if the Kings have gotten better at keeping tabs on three-point shooters while still doing a decent job protecting the paint. Suns forwards Channing Frye and Markieff Morris will tests the Kings' post players in this area with their ability to make three pointers.
2. Can the Kings "be stronger" with the ball?
The Kings might not have the worst shooting percentage in the NBA if they didn't lose the ball so much in the paint while in traffic. Instead of waiting for the officials to bail them out, the Kings need to protect the ball better.
3. More dunks
After a tough shooting night against the Lakers expect DeMarcus Cousins to come out aggressively near the rim. Five-of-16 shooting isn't good for any player, especially the starting center. To prevent layups from not going in or being blocked, Cousins could power up for more dunk attempts. That would also get him more free throw attempts.
4. Back to the learning tree
Rookie point guard Isaiah Thomas in his third consecutive game against a veteran point guard that figures to teach some lessons about the NBA. After dealing with Chris Paul and Derek Fisher, Thomas' counterpart tonight is Steve Nash, 38, who is having a stellar season and was an All-Star again.
5. Getting the shots up
The Kings had season highs win field goals attempted (103) and made (45). That percentage (43.7) isn't good, but still above the Kings' season average. The Kings have struggled shooting all season. So the Kings have to push the tempo and have a good game with offensive rebounds and second-chance points to keep the offense going if they aren't going to shoot better.